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Media Watch: Woody's Magical Mystery Tour

Friday, November 21, 2008 12:55pm
By: Brett Friedlander

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Thanksgiving is supposedly the busiest time of the year for travel, and apparently North Carolina radio play-by-play man Woody Durham is doing his part to make sure it stays that way. Either that, or he's intent on accumulating enough frequent flier miles to own his own airline.

The veteran broadcaster is currently in the midst of a 14-day stretch in which he will traverse 10,330 miles to call six Tar Heel games in two sports across five time zones.

Woody's odyssey began last Saturday when he announced UNC's football game against Maryland in College Park. He then returned to Chapel Hill to tape the Roy Williams show on Monday and then call the UNC-Kentucky basketball game from the Dean Dome on Tuesday. Wednesday, he hosted the Butch Davis Live show before beginning his preparations for the Tar Heels' football game against N.C. State this Saturday.

That's when things really get hectic.

Early Sunday morning, Durham will board a plane for Lahaina, Hawaii, where he will join Williams and his basketball team for games in the Maui Classic on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He'll then fly all night Wednesday to get home in time to spend Thanksgiving with his family, then get right back to work taping a coach's show on Friday before making the relatively short trek to Durham on Saturday, Nov. 29, for UNC's season-ending football game at Duke.

Durham's only regret? Because of overlapping schedules, he wasn't able to broadcast UNC's basketball opener against Penn last Saturday and will miss Friday's hoop game at UC-Santa Barbara.

“I don't know how he does it, to tell you the truth,” said Gary Sobba, general manager of Tar Heel Sports Marketing. “At his age (67), you'd think he'd start slowing down a little and let someone else do a few of the games to cut down on the wear-and-tear he puts his body and his voice. But if you ask Woody, he'll tell you that this is what the business is all about. I think it's still fun for him.”

And that's exactly what he'll tell you.

“I wouldn't still be doing it if I didn't enjoy it,” Durham said. “I've been fortunate enough to be fairly healthy throughout my career, which probably comes from having a lot of good friends who are doctors. But we just got a new contract with Learfield Sports, so as long as I feel good and they keep letting me go on the air, I'll continue to do it.”

And who knows? Maybe he'll even find some time to spend on the beach while he's in Hawaii.

By the way, Durham still isn't sure whether he'll be able to get a couple of extra hours of sleep upon his return before doing the UNC-Duke game.

That's because ABC/ESPN in its infinite wisdom, has decided to exercise its six-day option on all but two games involving ACC teams on the football season's final week.

You'd think the networks would give some consideration to all those fans making plans to rush home from Grandma's house that Saturday by letting them know what time their teams are playing. But as usual, the only thing "The Worldwide Leader" cares about is the bottom line.

Click here to send an email to Brett Friedlander.